How Technology Changes & Communications Impact Target Audiences

Strategic communications, education or information outreach when applied effectively means really knowing your taget audience as a critical component to any campaign and its success.

Often times, informaiton is put out, but at times there is a major “disconnect” between the outreach and the end user.

I thought of
this video
of an elderly women trying to adapt to Digital TV, though funny, exemplifies the reality of my point in how we can sometimes totally miss the mark in communicating a concept, a process, or important data that resonates (or NOT) with a particular audience.

In so doing, communications should convey deliberate, and well researched messag(s) through the most suitable
media for the designated target audience(s) at the appropriate time to contribute to and achieve the desired long-term effect. We must remember not everyone is Web 2.0 capable or enabled. That is why integrated communication strategies and tactical planning must not be forgotten. It has to bring three factors into balance: the message(s), the media channel(s) and the audience.

Most communicators would agree that there are a common set of variables considered in the development of a mass media campaigns and a common set of outcomes that one can reasonably expect as a result of a communication effort.

Communication development can be categorized into four broad areas:

1) psychosocial attributes of the receiver, 2) the source or spokesperson, 3) channel outreach activities and materials used to disseminate the information/the message, and 4) the message itself, including content, tone, type of appeal, audio characteristics, and visual attributes .

Taken together, any combination of these four independent variables constitutes what we refer to as the Communication Strategy. The outcomes of a mass communication effort may be categorized into six broad areas which include: 1) exposure, 2) attention, 3) comprehension, 4) yielding, 5) attitude change, and 6) intended behavior.

Prior to begining any outreach campaign, formative research or formative evaluation is absolutely one of the most important elements needed to be performed or you could end up putting your message out on the wrong channel with the wrong message to the wrong audience/population segment. Messaging and communications should be pre-tested before just sending it out there to the masses.

What would you do different to help the message resonate better with an elderly target audience, such at this in the video? Does Web 2.0 apply here?

Leave a Comment

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Heather Cox

Absolutely! I think one of the first things we need to do (a la Stephen Covey) is to begin with the end in mind. People are going to use this for something that they consider important. So, how do we answer the ‘what’s in it for me’? With the elderly, perhaps we demonstrate the power of the webcam to see grandchildren or distant friends; how Google can help them make smarter decisions about purchases and medical issues, etc. Then, we direct them to equipment (many schools now refurbish computers for the community) and resources (again, many high schools now have community service requirements where people can get instruction for free). I may be oversimplifying it, but it’s a start!